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Thread: 1951 M38A1 Kaiser Willys, entire frame and components minus tub. Need all the advice

  1. #1
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    1951 M38A1 Kaiser Willys, entire frame and components minus tub. Need all the advice

    Hi All, I'm Rios57c....title describes my Jeep of which I need all the help I can scrounge up. First I need to purchase the tub, I have a plan but looking to see if I can do better with this forums advice! So I have to first buy the Tub then the big problem; the VIN number.....no body no numbers. I look on the forward part of the frame as described in a few books but nothing. Some where it was mentioned that from the ser# on the engine you can trace the VIN # . Dont know if it s true or not as I have no idea where to look for this info. In the Army I used to chase rabbitts and drove quite some time in those jeeps and now at the age of 60 I have an oprtunity but have these set backs to deal with along with my disability which I will not let it stop me. So my first task to beat is the VIN number; does any one have any Ideas how I can either find or attain a valid VIN number for my Jeep?DSC_0005.jpgDSC_0006.jpg
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    With what you have in front of you, there is really no tracing anything back to an MVIN.

    Rules vary state to state, but here in Indiana if I needed to get a title for this project, I would take the pictures you already have and go to the local License branch and ask them what to do.

    You will need a bill of sale, probably notarized, and then you will end up in some local court with an affidavit attesting that it's really yours. It will be a pain to get a new MVIN assigned, but you will need to follow the paper trail.

    How long have the head and oil pan been off the engine, and why- do you know yet? That looks like the biggest project killer at a first glance.

    Another comment - the electrical (coil, distributor, generator and starter) aren't M38A1 24-volt components. That might even be an ignition ballast resistor hanging down in the last picture. Either this isn't an M38A1, or someone has Bubba'ed it up really good.

    This may be your parts chassis for the next opportunity.

    Run Forrest - run like the wind.....
    Last edited by LarrBeard; 07-21-2018 at 07:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    The frame, according to the pictures, looks to be a CJ frame. On an M38A1 frame, there are slight differences from the civilian version. The first would be the flat machine gun mount, that is welded on top of the first crossmember, behind the transmission/transfer case. The second would be the tie down loops affixed to the sides of the frame. With that all being said, not all hope is lost. It isn't out of the question that those items have been removed. I'll add some pictures tomorrow, when I get back to my computer.

    Also, the engine serial number would be stamped directly behind the water pump, on the flat deck of the block surface, where the head mounts. The military engines will start with an M and then the serial numbers.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    [/QUOTE] Also, the engine serial number would be stamped directly behind the water pump, on the flat deck of the block surface, where the head mounts. The military engines will start with an M and then the serial numbers.[/QUOTE]

    If the block was planed to clean up a warp, the serial number goes away. A really conscientious builder might restamp the serial number on the flat surface of the block casting at the upper-left corner of the exhaust manifold.

    With the non-24-volt electrical components and the F-134, I agree it's probably a CJ-3B.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Here are a few pictures of a M38A1 frame photos;
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    i WAS TOLD THIS JEEP WAS USED BY THE CITY FOR YEARS AND MOST LIKELY FOR CITY BUILDINGS AND POSSIBLY PLOWING ON CITY LOTS AND WHY THE BODY FELL OFF OF IT. Its really in very good condition considering sitting in a Barn for years. I was also tole the head was pulled off as it began smoking and was ready for a new set of rings. I downloaded five books on repair manuals from the military and will read upon beginning any Mechanical work , And yes I will BE BACK WITH MULTIPLE QUESTIONS. I will also review pictures and compare to mine and try and confirm model of jeep as I will need a correct ID before purchasing body kit. My main Problem is getting that VIN number, I know thats a tricky issue but was told if I could find a model not worth restoring I might be able to grab a VIN number from one in really bad shape. I would love to have this finished and on the road prior to my Demise , While in the Army I used to chase Rabbits and other jobs with my Jeep never thinking I would cherish to have one in my Elderly years. This is as close as I could yet to this point, I want my Son to inherit it and then his Son after him. These days theirs not much a Man can give his children that they would keep and not sell after the Old Man is gone but I feel my Son couldn't deny my last request and would begin this tradition for years to come. So.......I'm in the hopes some one will give me a helping hand in this endeavor! Excited never the less to have reached this point.

  7. #7
    Your best bet is to buy a vehicle that has a title. You will have to rebuild that vehicle using your vehicle as a donner vehicle. What ever you do do not try to change the vin number to your vehicle as that is illegal everywhere. you will have to rebuild the titled vehicle keeping the vin number intact. Make sure the vehicle you buy does not have a junk title as they can not be registered. A salvage title is ok. Untitled vehicles are a real problem and can only be used for parts. Of course states have different laws and perhaps you can find a loop hole. DMV's are generally not a good source of legal information as the clerks do not have that much information. Do not put too much stock in the Internet as thy have a lot of wrong information. you will have to resurch this but what ever you do get it registered before you sink much in to the project.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Being that your jeep was owned by a local city, then there is a paper trail to follow. My advice would be to go to the local Police department, or Sherriff department and pay a few bucks to have a VIN search and affidavit filed through the magistrate. This will give you the means to registering the vehicle when finished. The following link is for finding the serial number on an early CJ5 and M38A1 frame. The number will also give you an idea on when your Jeep was manufactured.

    http://www.earlycj5.com/xf_cj5/index...ep-cj5.121192/

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